Marseille, 19 August 1889

Sir and dear friend Vincent.
I received your letter with great pleasure, especially to learn that you are in good health. Continue to take good care of yourself, follow the advice of your good Doctor and you will see your complete recovery to the satisfaction of your relatives and your friends.
I am very pleased that your brother is very happy with married life, he appears to be such a good man that if he has taken a wife like himself, they must be happy. Offer him my friendly greetings as well as those of my family when  1v:2 you write to him. We are very charmed by the welcome he gave to our Portraits, as much for the friendship he shows towards myself and my family as for the praise he gives to your work.1 Receive our sincere congratulations.
In your letter you think that I am with my family, unfortunately not, I still have another month and a half to go, I have only rented my apartment for Michaelmas, my family cannot come until the first ten days of October.2 Augustine and Marcelle came to stay for a fortnight in Marseille, because I could not go and see them. Augustine and Marcelle are well. Marcelle is ever  1v:3 more beautiful, she is walking all on her own, she talks like a little Parrot. I can tell you that I spent a pleasant fortnight with them. A little one who isn’t unsociable, who gets on with everyone. If you had seen her admiring paintings, as soon as she saw a painting in houses, in the street, she talked to it.
I will not have your paintings, our portraits,3 until I have the family. Do not fear that I will have anything done to your paintings for I respect the artist’s talent too much, and once my word is given you know it is sacred to me. Let us hope that one day we can see each other again and once again cement our friendship. When the family is in Marseille I hope that  1r:4 you will honour us with a visit one day. I was very pleased with the approaches friend Gauguin made to your brother to get you to participate in their exhibition, it is very good of him. I congratulate you on your resolutions not to want to exhibit anything without your being in Paris. Between now and then you will be able to have an exhibition all of your own by adding everything to it that you do at St-Rémy.
Do not be discouraged, work in those beautiful fields, take advantage of the models that nature provides you, with work health will return.
Dear Mr Vincent, accept my sincere regards as well as those of my wife and my children. Marcelle sends you a big kiss.
I shake both your hands.

Your entirely devoted

Railway Postman
No. 57 rue Breteuil

When you have the time to honour me with a letter you will always give me great pleasure.


Br. 1990: 797 | CL: -
From: Joseph Roulin
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Marseille, Monday, 19 August 1889

1. Vincent must have written to Roulin about Theo’s reaction to the portraits in the third consignment of paintings from Arles. Theo had told him how beautiful he found Augustine Roulin (‘La berceuse’) (F 504 / JH 1655 [2762], F 506 / JH 1670 [2774], F 507 / JH 1672 [2776] and F 508 / JH 1671 [2775]), Joseph Roulin (F 436 / JH 1675 [2777]) and Marcelle Roulin (F 441 / JH 1641 [2753]) (see letter 774, nn. 2, 3 and 5). Armand Roulin (F 493 / JH 1643 [2755]) and Camille Roulin (F 538 / JH 1645 [2757]) must also have been in that consignment. The portrait Young man with a cap (F 536 / JH 1648), which is presumably of Armand Roulin, was probably also with Theo (see letter 767, n. 1).
[2762] [2774] [2776] [2775] [2777] [2753] [2755] [2757] [859]
2. Regarding Michaelmas (29 September), see letter 654, n. 2. Augustine Roulin and the children were staying with her mother in Lambesc, until they could move to Marseille in October 1889.
3. On the basis of provenance information, it can be ascertained that the Roulin family owned the following portraits: Augustine Roulin (‘La berceuse’) (F 505 / JH 1669 [2773]), Marcelle Roulin (F 441a / JH 1640 [3065]), Armand Roulin (F 492 / JH 1642 [2754]), Camille Roulin (F 537 / JH 1644 [2756]), and a portrait of Roulin. It cannot be ascertained which portrait or portraits of Roulin were in their possession; see letter 774, n. 3.
[2773] [3065] [2754] [2756]
a. Read: ‘j’espère’.
b. Read: ‘J’ai été’.
c. Read: ‘félicite’.
d. Read: ‘ayez été’.